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Formula 1

Verstappen blames Leclerc for ‘reckless’ lap one crash

by Glenn Freeman
2 min read

Max Verstappen says he cannot understand why Charles Leclerc was ‘so aggressive and so reckless’ in their Sakhir Grand Prix first lap tangle, which put both drivers out of the race.

Both drivers were out on the spot at Turn 4 on the opening lap of the race when Ferrari’s Leclerc locked up on the inside of the corner and caught the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who was pitched into a spin.

The stewards have given Leclerc a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Abu Dhabi GP as a punishment, saying the collision was down to the Ferrari driver having “braked too late” and that Perez was “taking the normal racing line into the corner”.

Verstappen was forced to take avoiding action through the gravel and skated straight into the barrier, along with Leclerc. Perez was able to continue running and eventually recovered to take a shock win.

Leclerc accepted that he was at fault for the collision, but Verstappen – who started the race from third and hoped to make the most of Lewis Hamilton’s absence this weekend – was aggrieved by the DNF.

“I think actually the start wasn’t bad but of course, Valtteri [Bottas] squeezed which is normal so I had to back out and then basically from there onwards it was just all about surviving in between the cars,” said Verstappen.

“I don’t know why they were being so aggressive and so reckless. We’re all up in the front and at the end of the day, now three cars were basically a victim of that; two cars of course heavily so I don’t know why, especially Charles in Turn 4, why he dives up the inside like that.

Max Verstappen Red Bull F1 2020 Sakhir GP crash

“I mean, especially brake that late as well. What do you expect?

“Checo [Perez] cannot see what is happening on the inside and [Leclerc] basically just locked his wheel and understeered into him and because of that, when Checo was spinning backwards, I tried to go around the outside, trying not to damage my car but there’s nothing you can do there.”

Leclerc said that he saw the Racing Point of Perez when making the move and admitted that the only blame should be attributed to him, but he also felt the incident was a result of first lap circumstance.

“I was side by side a bit behind Max and tried to overtake him into Turn 4, I had seen Checo but I expected him to go around the outside of Valtteri and stay there but I think that he decided after to come back in the inside,” said Leclerc.

“I was there and then it was too late for me to slow down. I don’t think it’s a mistake from Checo. I’m not putting the blame on Checo.

“If there’s anybody to blame today, it’s me but I would say it’s more unfortunate than a blame.”

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